Getting tax breaks by giving to charity has been popular for a very long time; but with a struggling economy, there are fewer people giving their hard-earned money to charities.
But let's be serious here. Nothing really feels better than giving to charities (well- except for a few things, but charities are the best GOOD thing you can do) so we all need to try to do this once in a while.
So since fewer people are giving up their money, that's bad news for the charities, and bad news for the people who aren't giving, since they aren't getting the tax breaks that they used to when they donated.
If you really want to get good breaks on your taxes and pay less to Uncle Sam, you should consider giving to charity. It helps your tax situation, helps other people who need it, and helps you feel good about contributing to society, too.
Here are some options if you're looking for truly excellent tax breaks.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is probably one of the most common charities that people donate to. They know that this particular charity does a lot of good and is deeply interested in helping all kinds of people. With that in mind, it's easy to give to this one - and who can resist those big red kettles all over the place around Christmastime?
The United Way
The United Way is another biggie for people who want to donate. Each year, the United Way gets literally billions of dollars in donations.
Some of that comes from big donations made by philanthropists, but a lot of it just comes from people who give a few dollars at a time. These are normal, average, everyday people who like to help others and want to give, and they make a huge difference to charity when all of their contributions are taken together. The United Way distributes the money they receive among charitable organizations in that community.
Catholic Charities USA
This gets a lot of donations, too, and you don't have to be religious to give to that particular organization. You also don't have to be Catholic to get help from Catholic Charities USA. It's not a strictly denominational charity. It's interested in helping all kinds of people who need assistance, and your generous donations can help do just that.
Kars4Kids provides tax breaks for donating a vehicle. That's not something many people think about doing. Most donations to charity are cash, and others are food, medicine, and other items, like household goods. By donating a car that you're no longer using, it just emphasizes the point that you don't need to have a lot of spending money to give valuable things to charity. Instead, you can offer material goods or even volunteer your time and still be very helpful.
No matter what you decide to do when it comes to donating, or which charity you decide to help, be sure that you get receipts for the money or goods that you donate.
Even if you just give a few bags of clothing to a Goodwill store, getting a receipt will allow you to safely write them off on your taxes without worry. If you are audited, you can show your receipts and you won't have any problem proving your deductions.
That peace of mind is comforting, and it also helps to keep your financial situation straightened out and strong - both of which are important.